U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Home
  2. About DHS
  3. Mission
  4. Secure U.S. Borders and Approaches

Secure U.S. Borders and Manage Safe, Orderly, and Humane Immigration Processes

Border Patrol vehicle next to a fence The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is ensuring the safety and security of our borders while managing a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system.

DHS is focused on securing our borders and keeping communities safe while managing a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system. DHS accomplishes this by facilitating legitimate trade and travel and rigorously enforcing U.S. customs and immigration laws and regulations.

DHS’s border security responsibilities include:

Two military pilots sitting in the cockpit

The security of our Nation depends on operational control over air, land, and maritime borders to prevent terrorists, transnational criminal organizations, and other threat actors from exposing the United States to malicious and illicit activity outside our borders, including drug and weapons trafficking and human smuggling.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agents enforce all applicable U.S. laws, including against illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling and illegal importation.

CBP's border security mission is led on multiple fronts. CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations provide security and facilitation operations at 328 ports of entry, U.S. Border Patrol agents secure our borders, and agents from Air and Marine Operations (AMO) provide support by land, air, and sea. Also at ports of entry, agriculture specialists are deployed to protect U.S. agriculture from the introduction of pests or disease from overseas sources. In addition, CBP works closely with foreign counterparts at the border and throughout the region to identify and monitor threats to the United States.

DHS is also taking a multi-layered approach to to positively identify, screen, and vet individuals to prevent potential known or suspected terrorists, as well as others who may present a threat to our country, from traveling to the United States using evasive travel methods.

DHS continues to protect America’s national and economic security by facilitating legitimate trade and travel and rigorously enforcing U.S. customs and immigration laws and regulations. Part of this work includes combating systemic transnational criminal activity to eliminate the flow of narcotics, crime, and violence into the United States, while intercepting outbound illicit profits. This starts at the land and maritime ports of entry, where DHS is vigilantly inspecting inbound cargo. By reducing the supply of narcotics that enter the United States and preventing human smuggling and trafficking enterprises, DHS is preventing the existence of illicit American markets.

Related DHS Components

Border Patrol agents finding illegal drugs on a ship

DHS is directly addressing potential threats to our Homeland through a wide array of proven tactics and cutting-edge technology to defend the American people against dangerous threats. This broad approach includes forward-deployed border security operations, such as cutter patrols, customs and immigration investigations, and travel security assets, combined with international partnerships around the world. In coordination with other federal agencies, DHS is expanding efforts to collect and analyze advance passenger information, strengthen the known and suspected terrorist watchlist, and share information with international counterparts and help them enhance their screening and vetting capabilities to identify known and suspected terrorists.  

Through efforts such as Operation Sentinel, DHS is also investigating and dismantling transnational criminal organizations to eliminate threats posed to our Nation by illicit activities such as human smuggling.  

Together, these initiatives enable the United States to intercept foreign threats long before they reach U.S. soil.

Related DHS Components

ICE agent observing passengers on an airplane

Administration and enforcement of our Nation’s immigration laws is critically important to the national security and public safety of the United States, and DHS continues to process individuals in accordance with U.S. law and our mission. Individuals who attempt to irregularly migrate to the United States, such as anyone who is in the country without legal status, are subject to removal processes. Irregular migration poses a significant threat to the health and welfare of border communities and to the lives of migrants themselves, and should not be attempted.

DHS is also working to build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system, including by expanding lawful pathways to the United States and reforms to strengthen the asylum system.

Related DHS Components

Last Updated: 02/23/2022
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content